Postboxes have been painted blue in towns and cities across England and Wales to mark the Cricket World Cup, which starts on Thursday.

Ten postboxes close to host venues have been rebranded by Royal Mail for the duration of the tournament.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said the promotion would “help bring the tournament to life”.

The tournament opens with England playing South Africa at the Oval.

The blue boxes, which initially caused some bemusement, have been decorated with local facts about the game and players.

One in New Street, Birmingham, celebrates Brian Lara’s record first-class innings score of 501 not out at Edgbaston in 1994.

Another postbox is near Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, which will host the final of the 50-over tournament on 14 July.

Blue postboxes are not an entirely new phenomenon – they were introduced for airmail letters in the 1930s. Examples remain at Castlefield, Manchester and outside Windsor Castle.

Postboxes were painted gold in the home locations of gold medal winners in the 2012 London Olympics.